Attendance Policy Change

Hannah Oldham, Staffer

The 2020-2021 school year caused there to be changes made to the attendance policy to accommodate the Covid-19 Pandemic, this included the school easing the student attendance regulations. As we entered the 2021-2022 school year our district began experiencing student attendance issues not necessarily related to the pandemic.

To counteract this issue the school decided it would be best to make the switch back towards a normal school year attendance policy. On November 8th, 2021 standard policy resumed for all students in all buildings. Assistant Principal Mark Cook disclosed the main reason this change was made mid-semester.

“Well, the decision with that was we had a lot of kids not coming to school and using Canvas as their learning where Canvas is a supplementary tool that shouldn’t be used now that we are in person with everyone,” said Cook.

Some students argue that there wasn’t enough warning before the policy officially changed. Senior Connor Boyd expressed his lack of knowledge on the changing policy.

“I didn’t hear about it until one of my friends told me about it,” Boyd said.

An email with a more detailed document attached was sent to students and guardians on November 4th, 2021 which was only four days before the policy officially changed. Although the information was provided, not all students think the way it was sent out was the most efficient way of spreading the news. Freshman Piper Martin shares her concerns about students checking their email.

“I check my emails but if it doesn’t look important I don’t click on it. If it is something that you want everyone to know it needs to be an in class thing cause not everyone is going to look at their email,” Martin explained.

For this reason, some believe that there was a better way to send this important information out. Boyd voices what he thinks would have been a better alternative to the email that was sent out.

“Everyone has an advisory class so if they have a lesson in advisory everyone would listen and understand that the rule changed,” Boyd mentioned.

Considering pandemic regulations last year, students entered this year with caution. Some believe the school is rushing students into old ways to find a sense of normalcy. Martin expresses her feelings towards the school’s attempts.

“Making it where students can’t have anymore than 5 absences is a little ridiculous because of the fact that we went from going to school 2 days a week to now 5 days a week and it’s just not the same. I think the school didn’t really think about that. They continue to try to put students into this box of how they should be, especially this year,” said Martin.

Since the change the school has reported that they have seen changes. Cook goes more in depth on what’s been going on and how the students have reacted since the policy changed.

“We try to talk to every student we have that had missed a lot of days previous to that and just remind them that now the attendance policy is going to count against you. I check my attendance every Friday and I don’t have any that have hit that mark yet,” shared Cook.

Considering the positive changes the school has seen, some believe that this policy change was well aligned with the issue the school was experiencing. Despite Boyd not necessarily agreeing with the decision, he is able to respect it because it works.

“I didn’t like it, but honestly I have no idea what they would do differently so, I guess it kind of works,” explains Boyd.

As students are shifting back into the more normal version of school life, they gain more responsibility. Not only the responsibility to show up but also the responsibility to balance the different factors of everyday life. Martin provides her viewpoint on the ability to balance life.

“I think that having this policy gives more responsibility to people, but at the same time there are some situations where kids don’t want to go to school, and not just because it’s school but there are drama situations. I feel like everyone needs a couple days just for mental health and I think that {the policy} is taking that ability away,” Martin said.

The policy was set in place for one main reason, to strongly encourage students to show up and care about their classes. Boyd suggests some of the risks if this policy had not changed, as well as the backlash to students who did not abuse the lienet policy before the change.

“Kids would have just been missing days left and right, it just would have been taken advantage of so I guess they did the right thing in that sense but to all the people that didn’t miss any scholl before they changed it, it’s just not fair,” Boyd explained.

There are multiple opposing opinions about the policy change but as of right now, the policy is showing positive results to the school. As the year goes on school faculty and administrators will continue to look at the attendance for the betterment of the students. This policy helps students stay focused on their classes and no matter a student’s opinion, the policy has shown great improvement for the district.